Hackjob: Part 4

I picked up my tablet and clicked on the YouTube app, finding my subscriptions, and clicking on Kid Biohack’s feed.

Vaughn laughed. “You’re subscribing to that guy?”

I ignored him. The video was entitled “Live: Kid Biohack Corners Suspect!” More than three thousand people were currently watching.

I clicked on the video to find that it showed a man running in the dark, crossing the street to run through the backyard of one house and then another. The houses looked like the ones around the middle of town–two stories with a small porch in the front, small lawns, and probably close to one hundred years old.

Judging from what I could see, they weren’t likely going much faster than twenty-five miles per hour. That was impossible for a normal human but slow enough that I hadn’t set the spybots to record.

I’d been going on the theory that people robbing armored cars would never bother to go that slowly. Maybe I’d have to rethink that.

Kid Biohack’s camera wasn’t standard. Assuming this wasn’t being staged and was going on more or less right now, he’d bought a camera that could get a night time picture that looked like it could have been taken at twilight.

Better, it was clear.

That meant that I could see the person he was chasing clearly. Even though the guy was wearing a mask, I didn’t think he was a supervillain. For one, this guy wore street clothes–a t-shirt and shorts. The shorts were silky and went nearly to his knees. Blue, orange, and white, they had the gothic Detroit Tigers’ D on the right side.

While anything could be true, it seemed unlikely that a supervillain would wear clothes that advertised a baseball team.

With every jump over a road or sprint across, I became more worried that one of them would hit a car or crash through the window of a house.

Worse, I began to recognize the houses. While there were hundreds that were similar in older neighborhoods across the city, Grand Lake University sat in the middle of houses that looked like that, and I’d already recognized one. It wasn’t particularly distinctive, but I remembered it from accompanying Courtney on the night when she’d met with someone who’d claimed to be able to give her permanent powers.

I didn’t see him. I was fairly sure he was in jail, but the house was one of many that people rented out to university students.

Vaughn shook his head. “This is intense. Did you see that? That house isn’t more than four blocks south of here.”

So far as I could tell, he’d recognized a different house, but they were close to each other.

“It’s only going to be so long before one of them causes a car crash or runs into somebody.” I stared at the feed. Jeremy had said it ran with a lag. The chase could be over by now, but given what I’d seen of Kid Biohack, he’d probably still be filming after the chase ended.

“I’m going after them in the stealth suit.”

Vaughn nodded. “You want backup?”

I pulled my jacket out of the closet and grabbed my backpack. “Sure.”

Glancing toward the door, Vaughn said, “Cool. I’ve been hoping to try out the new suit. Oh, and follow me. I’ve got a great place to change.”

He led me through the hall and up the elevator to the seventh floor of the dorm. Then he showed me a door on the seventh floor. It led up a stairway, and finally to the roof.

Past the edge of the roof was the glow of houses, streetlights, cars on the highway overpass that led through downtown, and the marinas and harbor on Grand Lake.

“How did you get a key for this?”

Vaughn shrugged. “Same as always. My family endows multiple chairs, and if you talk to the right people and imply that you have more influence with the family foundation than you actually do, you can get access to a lot of places.”

I considered pointing out all the problems with that, but I didn’t. I activated the new stealth suit, feeling it pull together, melding material from my backpack with my jacket to create a stealth suit that no one could find on me before I set it to transform.

Vaughn’s suit used the same technology. I’d created new suits for the entire team.

Turning on my helmet’s heads-up display, and setting it to play the YouTube video, I watched to see if I could recognize where they were now.

Then I noticed large Greek letters on the houses, and realized where they must be. Haley had pointed out Travis’ fraternity house and a couple more fraternity and sorority houses near it.

I turned to Vaughn. “Are you ready?”

Now all in black, Vaughn’s costume made me think of the Matrix, or possibly Edward Scissorhands. “You go, I’ll follow. I don’t want the wind to mess you up.”

I gave him a thumbs up, and turned on the rockets, aiming myself toward the south edge of campus. The official fraternity houses were university owned. The unofficial ones were most likely to be where parties took place. Haley had pointed out the unofficial houses.

Behind me I could hear and sometimes feel as the wind twisted and turned, but Vaughn knew his business. The wind never affected me.

Below me, cars and people clustered around more than one house. I wondered what effect landing in the middle of the backyard would have. Would they run away or offer me a beer? I wasn’t planning to try it, but it would be interesting to know.

Vaughn’s light glowed in my HUD and his voice came over the comm. “See anything?”

“No,” I began, but then the guy Kid Biohack was chasing jumped over one car in the line of parked cars, landing in the street. “Wait, yes… Down there.”

I dove.

12 thoughts on “Hackjob: Part 4”

  1. I don’t know if you care, but I saw Batman vs Superman this past weekend. My short assessment of the film? If you liked Man of Steel, you’ll probably like it. If you did not, you won’t.

    In other news, I don’t know if you know this, but in addition to writing, I also enjoy playing bass guitar. In a recent dream, I dreamed that I was taking bass lessons from Deadpool. I have no idea what was going on with that.

    Finally, last week, Legion got more votes on Top Web Fiction than normal. This week? It’s not doing too well.


  2. “Even the guy was wearing a mask, I didn’t think he was a supervillain.”
    “Even though…”?

    “The short were silky and went nearly to his knees.”
    “The shorts…”

    “Then I noticed large greek letters on the houses…”
    “Greek” should be capitalized, I think.

  3. And after 6 weeks of reading your last 8(?) years of writing, I am all caught up. Found you after reading FarmerBobs’ stuff (after reading all of Stefan Gagne’s stuff, after reading Wildbow’s stuff…)…took me a bit to get into the story, but now I’m stuck with everyone else on waiting for updates…

    1. OK, that got cut off…keep up the good work, can’t wait for all the revelations from the Stapleton summer to pan out.

      1. That’s not good.

        Farmerbob1 writes science fiction and superhero fiction. I link to his serials “Reject Hero” and “Set in Stone” off to the side of the page.

        1. I know Jim, I know!
          Doh! I mainly read this site by mobile and forgot about side stuff even when reading on desktop :-/
          Anyway links farmerBookmarked for later!
          Thanxs Jim!

          1. Aye, I’ve been writing a couple years but my output is very low currently. Symbiote (sci-fi), Reject Hero (superpowers), and Set in Stone (sci-fi) are my three completed projects, in order of writing them. Set in Stone is currently being edited (slowly) for e-book publishing, with quite a few changes to improve story pacing and develop Allen’s character a bit deeper.

            My next writing project is going to return me to the Reject Hero universe. I probably won’t start writing seriously on it for a couple months at least, though I might pop out a prologue and occasional chapter before then.

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